Archive for category Georgia

Republicans Uncover A UN Plot to Conquer the US Using Bike Paths

You may not have caught the passage in the Texas GOP platform:

United Nations Agenda 21 -The Republican Party of Texas should expose all United Nations Agenda 21 treaty policies and its supporting organizations, agreements and contracts. We oppose implementation of the UN Agenda 21 Program which was adopted at the Earth Summit Conference in 1992 purporting to promote a comprehensive program of sustainable development projects, nationally, regionally and locally. We oppose the influence, promotion and implementation of nongovernmental organizations, metropolitan and/or regional planning organizations, Councils of Government, and International Council for Local Environmental initiatives and the use of American (Texas) citizen’s taxes to promote these programs.

On the American right, paranoia about the UN is old hat.  Whether it’s imaginary schemes to take over America using UN treaties or steal our children by imagining they have rights, the UN is a favorite bogeyman.  So what is this sinister Agenda 21?

Jim Galloway:

 Agenda 21 is also known as the“Rio Declaration on Environment and Development,” and was adopted in 1992 at a conference in Brazil.

In most languages, the report is a vacuous U.N. document that declares the need for a “sustainable” world environment.

Okay so?

But to a certain segment of those who speak Republican, it is a secret declaration of war.

At the state GOP convention in Columbus last month, delegates overwhelmingly condemned Agenda 21 as an attempt to “outlaw private property and redistribute wealth.”

At a debate in Paulding County two weeks ago, state Sen. Bill Heath, R-Bremen, criticized Republican challenger Bill Carruth for labeling Agenda 21 a mere “conspiracy theory.”

“It’s not a conspiracy. This is the real McCoy,” said Heath, in dead earnest. “Their vision is to essentially conquer the world through limiting everything we do, incrementally taking our liberties away from us.”

Revolution through rezoning and land-use restrictions, in other words. In these circles, “sustainability” is no longer a friendly word.

Hat tip to Ed Kilgore.  Agenda 21 is apparently cropping up in Republican platforms all over the country (I’m afraid to read Utah’s!).  Let’s review.  20 years ago, a bunch of delegates at a UN conference adopted a largely boilerplate document in favor of sustainability.  I doubt any one has given it much thought since then.  Now, tea baggers all the country are worried that the UN is behind a sinister plot to take over the US using bike paths and zoning ordinances.

This is why we can’t have nice things.


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Georgia Paid The Price For Bush’s Cheap Talk

Read the sad story in The New York Times about the Georgian retreat from South Ossetia, and you have to admit this fiasco is partly our fault– i.e. President George Bush’s fault.

One soldier, his face a mask of exhaustion, cradled a Kalashnikov.

“We killed as many of them as we could,” he said. “But where are our friends?”

It was the question of the day. As Russian forces massed Sunday on two fronts, Georgians were heading south with whatever they could carry. When they met Western journalists, they all said the same thing: Where is the United States? When is NATO coming?

An American ally is getting creamed by Russia, and there is nothing Bush and Cheney can do about it but issue statements of dismay.

Saakashvili hearts Bush
NATO Summit in Bucharest last April

Saakashvili hits the deck
Saakashvili dodges Russian bombs

Bush goofing off at Olympics
Bush having fun at Olympics

From Josh Marshall on Talking Points Memo:

What pretty much everyone who’s paying attention can see is that the US casually made a bunch of promises and representations to the Georgians which we were obviously neither prepared to or interested in backing up. …[W]hat’s both tragic and almost comical is that a lot of Georgians actually expected that we’d come to their defense militarily if got themselves into a real shooting war with the Russians. They’ve clearly paid a steep price for that cheap talk.

From Fred Kaplan on Slate:

Regardless of what happens next, it is worth asking what the Bush people were thinking when they egged on Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia’s young, Western-educated president, to apply for NATO membership, send 2,000 of his troops to Iraq as a full-fledged U.S. ally, and receive tactical training and weapons from our military. Did they really think Putin would sit by and see another border state (and former province of the Russian empire) slip away to the West?

I think the culpability of the Bush administration goes even further. I think Bush, through his ignorance of the history of international relations, pursued policies in Iraq and elsewhere based on the boneheaded principle of “who’s gonna stop us?” Well, that made it a lot easier for Russia to operate by that same principle, didn’t it? What goes around comes around, as they say at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

Did the Bush administration try to warn Georgia’s cocky President Saakashvili not to order an ill-advised attack on South Ossetia? Did they tell him about the Russian forces poised to take advantage of such an opportunity? With friends like Bush, Georgia doesn’t need enemies.

Acknowledgment: Pictures via Michael Shaw, The Huffington Post.

Check below for updates…
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‘It’s not South Ossetia we are at war with, it’s Russia’

Russian T-90 tanks
Russian T-90 tanks advancing on Tskhinvali in South Ossetia.

This is going to go down in history as one of those miscalculations that led straight to disaster. Here’s the story in brief, based on a well-written article in The Telegraph and a column by Edward Lucas in The Times:

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, violent separatist conflicts broke out in the autonomous regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Georgia’s ragtag army was forced to retreat in humiliation by Ossetian irregulars in 1992.

Today, however, largely thanks to U.S. military aid, Georgia’s 18,000-strong army is the best-trained and equipped fighting force in the Caucasus. There are 2,000 Georgian troops in Iraq. Georgia wants to join NATO.

Georgia mapFollowing weeks of escalating provocations, including hours of heavy shelling by the Russian-backed breakaway province and signs of large-scale Russian reinforcement, the order was given to launch a full-scale assault on South Ossetia’s Moscow-backed regime this morning. Georgian forces appeared to make easy progress, but it looks like they fell into a trap.

[A]s the day wore on it became apparent that Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili’s gamble of Russian non-intervention had backfired. Retaliating swiftly, Russia commenced a combined aerial and land assault on Georgian forces, launching Moscow’s first foreign military intervention since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan…

“It’s not South Ossetia we are at war with, it’s Russia,” the company’s commander said, shaking his head at the magnitude of his statement.

The Georgians are now in retreat, and the Russian Army is re-taking the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali. Air strikes have hit the nearby town of Gori and a military base close to the Georgian capital Tbilisi, where U.S. advisers are stationed. It’s not clear how much farther Russia is prepared to go.

UPDATES after the break…
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